Centenary of the Great War

MASKS ON: Always aware of the threat of poison gas, two Diggers pose for their photo at the front line. Photo: The Digger’s View by Juan MahonyNewcastle Morning Herald transcriptions and Hunter Valley enlistment and death details for March 4-10, 1918.

AUSTRALIAN RAIDSMr Gordon Gilmour, special correspondent on the West Front for the n and New Zealand Press Agency, reporting on Monday, says: “I saw a big batch of ns today, who are in training for a raid upon German positions, at a point where it is known that every blow is particularly harassing to the enemy.

The boys are taking a fiendish delight in the operation, proof of which is given by the fact that out of a body of troops exclusively from the New South Wales country districts and northern towns, three times the number required volunteered for the raid, such is the universal keenness to get a real slap at the Bosches. Among the most enthusiastic are many young arrivals, who have not yet had a real chance in the open. When I entered a hut full of chosen raiders behind the lines, the moment for action was drawing near on Sunday. Most had already taken the precaution of writing letters to those at home, leaving them to be forwarded in the event of mishap; but the hut resounded with laughter, despite which some were sleeping soundly, and others playing cards. There was not a gloomy man among them. Having made up their minds for the job, and being determined to carry it through thoroughly, they had learned every detail by heart, so that a mistake was impossible. Now they awaited the order to go forward, and were supposed to be resting, yet some outside were exuberantly kicking footballs. Indeed, the whole team of raiders seemed to regard the event much like a football match. Those men were not recruited by promises of rewards. They explained to me that they only wanted an opportunity to kill Fritz, because a Newcastle man added:- “It’s got to be done, if we are to get back to before we are old men.”

When General Birdwood addressed the group of raiders as “cobbers” he was proud of, they were pleased, but listened stolidly to the reference to their bravery. They did not think it brave. It was just a job, and a job worth doing. Earlier successful slaughtering raids made them eager to participate. The raiders included several Gallipoli men and others who had been three times wounded.

CARDIFF MAN IN FRANCEMr McRae, of Cardiff, has received the following letter from his son, Corporal Norman McRae, dated from Rhyl (Wales) Military Hospital, December 31, 1917: “Tomorrow is New Year’s Day, and to me it will be a lot different to the one I experienced 12 months ago. Then I was up to my knees in water and mud, with shells whizzing about, but this time – well, you know what civil life is; and that is practically what it is for us now. I have often made up my mind, since I got wounded, to let you know a little about my experiences in France, I don’t suppose you will know, but, at the time I went to France there was a whole division (3rd), including artillery, engineers, pioneers, A.M.C., etc., went across, so you will see that we were all fresh troops, hardly any of whom had ever seen a shell. We landed in France on the 22nd November, and on the 27th we were in the firing line, having relieved an English regiment, in front of Armentieres. We stayed there until two days before Christmas, when we were relieved by our next brigade. We marched back to a small village a few miles from one of the most important towns on the Western front. Our parcels and mail arrived on Christmas Eve, and you can imagine with what delight they were received. I was lucky enough to receive my first mail from home. We had a fortnight at this place, then marched to “Jesus Farm,” on the way back to Armentieres. From this time (19th January), right up till June, we were constantly moving from one sector to another, until we reached “Ploegsteert Wood” (or Plugstreet as the boys call it). This place was recognised as one of the liveliest places along the front at the time. This wood once belonged to King Albert of Belgium, and before the war must have been a wonderful place. As it was, the place was still beautiful, and hardly knocked about at all. However, it was full of guns, as preparations were going on for an offensive. On the night of June 6th we left __, about four miles behind the line, in battle order, to march up to the line, with a full knowledge of what we were going for. At 3.10 amon the 7th, we “hopped the bags,” after the explosion of 19 gigantic mines, the like of which I had never heard before, and don’t want to hear again. It was awful. We didn’t meet much opposition, but what we did meet was finished in the usual style. We managed to hold what we had taken, and were relieved after putting in three days of hard work. We were given a fortnight’s rest after this to recuperate and receive reinforcements, which were badly needed. After this spell, we “hiked” our packs back once more to the line, to the scenes of Captain Bairnsfather’s first sketches. This was just behind Messines. It wasn’t very long before we went into the line again, but it was 36 days before we got out again. Of all the bad days I have had on active service, I think those were by far the worst. We were under shell fire all the time. Night after night we had to wear gas masks, for old Fritz strongly believes in his gas shells. After this little lot, we were given two months’ spell. During this time I got my stripes. From this place we went to Winnizeele, some miles behind Ypres, and after four days’ rest were taken up in motor lorries to the line. We went into Zonnebeke, and put in a week. There were no trenches, only shell-holes half full of water. It was some place; both sides continually shelling. When we came back to Winnizeele, there was many an old face missing. We only stopped here a couple of days, and then once more motor lorries carried us back to Ypres, sadly under strength. We put up in tents for a night, and then once more prepared to go over the top. This was on October 11th. At 5.25 a.m., 12th October, after a night of constant rain and shelling, we hopped over, with Passchendaele Ridge as an objective. No sooner had our barrage opened than a veritable hail of bullets rained on us. We struck bogs, and trees joined together with wire, through which we had to force our way. On safely getting through this lot, I must have resembled some of the chaps who patronised the ‘Dudley Express’ (miners’ train). I was covered in mud from head to foot. We had to fight our way right to our objective, using both rifle, bayonet and bomb freely. I managed to stay the distance, but was wounded shortly after arriving. To this day I can’t remember how I managed to get back to the dressing station. Sufficient to say that I am In ‘Blighty’, having a real good spell, for the first time since leaving . I have heard that reinforcements are not available to make up the battalions to their fighting strength. For my part, I am glad conscription has been rejected, but, on the other hand, we must have men to keep us going. Taking things as they are, at present, I foresee at least one of our divisions being broken up to reinforce the others, and one division less means more work for those remaining. God knows they have enough now to do, without more being put on their shoulders.

TRIBUTE TO BRITISH WOMENLieutenant T. Laurie Adam, of Wickham, writing from Third London General Hospital, Wardsworth, under date 10th November, 1917, speaks highly of the great work of the women of England.

“Last Friday was Lord Mayor’s Day. There was a naval, military, and civil procession. In the morning a wealthy businessman, Mr. Howard Williams, came to the hospital with a number of motor omnibuses, and took us away into town, gave us a luncheon, and then arranged seats for us in his shop window. This gave us a view of the whole procession, and it was some procession, too! Sailors, soldiers, munition girls and girl farm workers. We cheered those girls! The work they are doing is absolutely wonderful. Some of the munition girls are quite yellow through working so constantly among explosives, and they cannot live much longer. And yet they had to adopt conscription in a country like England, where more girls are dying a slow death, that we might have sufficient shells out in France. My God! It hurts! And in , the country of which we have all boasted over here, turned conscription down, while the women of England are giving their lives that we might be saved when out on the battlefields of France and Belgium. I wonder what has become of our manhood. Knowing these things, you can quite imagine the pity we felt for these great, grand women, and the spirit we put into that cheering. I hope they understand.”

BELMONTThere was a large gathering in the Belmont Hall on Saturday night to welcome home Private Walter Marks, who has returned from the front. Private Marks left Sydney on May 1, 1916, and landed In England on July 9th, where he remained for four months. He proceeded to France on 21st November, and took part in the big push at Messines, where he was seriously wounded in the chest. After remaining in hospital at Abbeville, on the Somme, for three months, he was transferred to Notley, near Southampton, England on August 8, 1917.

Private Marks speaks highly of the attention he received from the doctors and nurses. It is a very large hospital, a quarter of a mile in length, and accommodates 5000 patients. He left England on December 17th, and arrived in Belmont on February 16th. The hall was nicely decorated with foliage and bunting. The welcome home, which took the form of a social, was presided over by Mr. W. G. Hall. Private Marks was carried on shoulder high by two of his old school mates, Messrs Norman Campbell and Jack Lunn (the former being a returned soldier), the audience singing “Home, Sweet Home.” Mr. Hall said Private Marks had played the man, and on behalf of the residents of Belmont asked his acceptance of a gold medal as a token of their appreciation. Private Marks said he appreciated their action in welcoming him home. He had done his best while away, and would, in the near future, if his health permitted, and his services were required, be willing to again fight for . Refreshments were served by the Red Cross ladies. Votes of thanks were accorded to all who had assisted. The remainder of the evening was spent in dancing.

WICKHAMMrs Bond, the Mayoress of Wickham, has received the following brief letter from Trooper Terrance J. Ganger, Second Light Horse, Palestine, under date January 3:“Just a line of thanks from my comrades and myself to you and the Wickham Patriotic Committee for the Christmas gifts, which we received. I may say that we were all delighted with them. The boys are exceedingly pleased to see that they are not forgotten by the folks of bonny . Best wishes from all.”

ENLISTMENTSStanley Vincent Baker, Tomalla; Ulick Lancelot Bourke, Merewether; Joseph Jacobs, Newcastle; David Haddon McNair, Islington; Basil Wynne Spring, Newcastle.

DEATHSL/Cpl Herbert Leslie Elvin, Cessnock; Sapper Robert John Hampton, Dungog.

Horoscopes: week beginning March 11, 2018

ARIES: The next ten weeks will see a build-up of responsibilities and emphasis on career interests as a deadline looms and passes on April 18. Situations often take time to develop naturally, so this is all par for the course although you may not feel like it at the time. Be prepared for delays in these matters between April 18 and September 6.

TAURUS: An overseas trip, impending legal matter, or education interest is quite important to Taureans over the coming ten weeks. Situations are not resolved quickly and delays in or around all these matters can be expected between April 18 and September 6. Thorough preparation in these matters brings favourable results.

GEMINI: A matter of financial importance, whether to do with a will, taxation, insurance, superannuation, or partnership income, is emphasised during the coming ten weeks. You need to be patient and practical with these matters, which will take time to work through. Expect delays between April 18 and September 6.

CANCER: Partnership, whether business or personal, naturally provides strength for Cancer but also entails heavy responsibilities. Such matters are currently emphasised, bringing to a head some of these issues in the ten weeks around April 18. Attend to important matters before that date, lest there be delays.

LEO: Leonine characters are carrying a heavy work load, during the next ten weeks, that is likely to be marked by delays due to the nature of that work. Steady efforts and routines make the situation more manageable, but be prepared for increased workload around April 18. Decks may not be cleared for a number of months.

VIRGO: Virgo’s fortunes are building in strength during the next few months, reaching a peak in the weeks around April 18. This can bring a solid opportunity that enhances your life or one of your children. It’s likely that you’ve been working on this for some time and is a work in progress. A great deal of satisfaction is likely to ensue.

LIBRA: There’s strength in numbers and in family, and the next ten weeks will certainly highlight this point. April 18 and the weeks around it is important in this regard, marked by enhanced feelings of security through family and a place to call home. This is likely to be a slowly developing situation, occurring in phases, so expect more later in the year too.

SCORPIO: April 18 and the weeks leading up to it are important for putting plans in place, dealing with transport issues (such as cars), and negotiations. Make the most of this time as it is easier to bring things to fruition before then. Following that date until September 6, these situations can be complicated by delays due to various reasons.

SAGITTARIUS: Sagittarius’ strength in money matters tends to take time to build, particularly where income and wealth are concerned, unless it is inherited. You are working tirelessly towards these ends in the weeks to April 18, but after that date there may be delays for a number of months in financial processing. Keep on top of things!

CAPRICORN: New heights of achievement are attained by Capricorn during the weeks to April 18, when there is a relentless push to bring order and form to your life and living conditions. However, between that date and early September, these energies subside as a natural part of the ebb and flow of living that occurs annually.

AQUARIUS: Aquarians currently require greater patience in dealing with various aspects of their life, particularly at a personal level. Things may not be resolved as quickly as you would like or to your complete satisfaction. This is only for a time. In the meantime, do what you can and bide your time until the timing is right. You will know it when it arrives.

PISCES: Pisceans are building their dreams and bringing them to reality at the moment, or at least putting the elementary aspects of these goals into place at the moment. There’s much to be done in the weeks to April 18 so don’t waste time, but don’t overdo it either. If not all is in place by then, there’ll be further opportunities later in the year.

© Alison Moroney, 2018 [email protected]老域名出售www.alisonmoroney老域名出售

Melbourne firies get generous leave deal

A new enterprise agreement could see Victorian firies take 196 days off work a year with full pay.Victorian taxpayers will fork out $150 million for a new pay deal for Melbourne firefighters that includes almost 200 days personal and other leave a year.

Metropolitan Fire Brigade firefighters will vote on the long-awaited enterprise bargaining agreement on Friday

United Firefighters Union secretary Peter Marshall said technically firefighters could take all that leave but they’d have to have someone die in the family, be adopting someone, be a carer for a family member and be in an abusive relationship.

“So it is a nonsense to say they have got that much leave,” he told AAP.

“We did a comparison in the building industry and it is almost the same if you add up all the leaves. All those leaves are industry standards.”

State Emergency Services Minister James Merlino said on Tuesday the agreement cost is “in the order of $150 million and that’s fully accounted for in the budget”.

“If you’re in a burning home and you’ve got a firefighter bashing through the door to save you and your children, do you think you care what they’re paid or what allowances they receive?”

The deal reportedly includes a $1200 second language allowance and an “availability allowance” for commanders worth 5.5 per cent of their salary.

Firefighters who have been on the job for more than two years will be eligible for 99 days of personal and sick leave a year, on top of 65 days’ annual leave.

By comparison, frontline Ambulance Victoria paramedics are entitled to up to 50 days of annual leave and Victoria Police officers get 45 days.

The agreement also included provisions for 10 days of community service leave and five days of union training, which alongside the state’s 13 public holidays added up to 196 days.

The minister said it wasn’t “a massive increase in leave entitlements”.

“There are various clauses in regards to leave but to think that every firefighter would add every single one of those leave provisions in one year is just completely unrealistic,” he said.

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Kristen Hilton reportedly raised concerns with Mr Merlino and the MFB board over the deal just days before the latter endorsed it.

The commissioner has been investigating both the Country Fire Authority and MFB and its report has been tangled up in a legal bid by the United Firefighters Union to block its release.

However, details of the report were leaked to The Age which on Tuesday reported on claims of entrenched bullying, “everyday sexism” and a “hyper-masculine culture” in the MFB.

Opposition emergency services spokesman Brad Battin wants Friday’s vote delayed until the report is released publicly in full.

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy called the deal a “stinking, rorting mess” and repeated his pledge for a royal commission into the fire services if the coalition wins government in November.

The saga involving the MFB and CFA pay deals saw former emergency service minister Jane Garrett resign in 2016 and a succession of fire service executives quit.

Celebrating faith in future

STRENGTHENING RELATIONSHIPS: Catholic Schools Week is a celebration of the Catholic faith-based education which aims at giving each and every student the opportunity of realising his or her full potential.From March 4-10, Catholic schools across the Maitland-Newcastle diocese will open their doors to families, friends and community members to celebrate Catholic Schools Week 2018.

The week’s activities will include open days and nights, open classrooms, in-school liturgies, grandparent days, performances and more to celebrate and raise awareness of the many opportunities that Catholic schools provide through faith-based education.

Catholic Schools Week also marks the start of the 2019 enrolment period for all 57 schools across the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. Currently there are more than 19,000 students enrolled in Catholic primary and secondary schools in the diocese.

The Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle is taking a number of steps to meet the growing demand for secondary education in the region.

It is building a new college –St Bede’s Catholic College in Chisholm – over four stages. With stage one completed, this January saw more than 100 students commence at the college in Year 7. Once all four stages are completed, the school will have more than 1100 students

Also in January this year, St Mary’s Catholic College in Gateshead opened its doors to 65 Year 11 students for the first time while St Joseph’s College in Lochinvar welcomed 75 Year 11 students.

All Saints’ College, with its St Peter’s Campus and St Mary’s Campus – combining St Peters (Years 7-10) and St Marys (Years 11-12) under one banner also started in 2018.

The annual Catholic Schools Week Mass on March 6 at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Hamilton is a highlight.

This will be attended by principals and school leaders from all 57 schools in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle as well as members of the wider community including parishioners and local politicians.

“The theme for the week –‘Catholic schools: Faith in our Future’ – focuses on strengthening the relationship between students and their Catholic faith,” Dr Michael Slattery, Director of the Catholic Schools Office said.

“Their faith-based education – with the support of parents, staff and members of the wider diocesan community – is aimed at giving each and every student the opportunity of realising his or her full potential.”

SA oyster disease breach ‘very concerning’

Assistant Agriculture Minister Anne Ruston says responds well to biosecurity threats.The federal government insists it is on top of ‘s biosecurity after a “very concerning” outbreak of oyster disease became the latest issue to threaten produce.

Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome was detected in South last week, joining fruit fly in Tasmania as a recent issue to hit the agriculture sector.

Assistant Agriculture Minister Anne Ruston said the government had acted quickly to protect markets.

” has a great reputation for its responses to biosecurity, but it is of a concern and something that should be taken very seriously,” Senator Ruston told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

POMS causes rapid death and high mortality rates in farmed Pacific Oysters and can spread quickly.

Tasmania’s $24 million-a-year oyster industry is still recovering after an outbreak of the disease was first detected in early 2016, contributing to low stocks for last year’s pre-Christmas harvest.

POMS was detected last week in Adelaide’s Port River, but has not yet been found in any of the state’s eight oyster growing regions.

“It is very concerning and we need to make sure we’re doing everything we can to contain it in the area that it is,” Senator Ruston said.

Labor’s agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon said oyster disease had joined white spot in prawns, which last year crippled Queensland’s prawn industry, blueberry rust and fruit fly as recent biosecurity issues.

“This very deeply concerning most recent event surely now calls upon the government to give both our producers, growers, fishers and markets some confidence the government is across these issues,” Mr Fitzgibbon told AAP.

He believes exporters will be concerned over recent developments and accused the government of “staying quiet” on the issue.

But Senator Ruston said the government had a proven track record on dealing with breaches.

“What has shown is that while we aren’t immune to pest and disease outbreaks, what we have done is put in place extraordinary measures to respond to them,” Senator Ruston said.

Basketball: Katie Ebzery, Damian Martin make Chinan teams for Gold Coast Commonwealth Games

IN: Katie Ebzery. Picture: Marina NeilHunter products Katie Ebzery and Damian Martin were named on Wednesday in n basketball teams for next month’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Ebzery and Martin retained their positions in the Opals and Boomers squads respectively following maiden Olympic campaigns in Rio in 2016.

It will be the first time the sport has featured at aCommonwealth Games since debuting in Melbourne 12 years ago.

won gold medals on that occasion in both the men’s and women’s competitions.

HERE THEY ARE @BasketballAus#[email protected] first Comm Games Basketball team since Melbourne 2006 pic.twitter老域名购买/Y0DGhNgEtZ

— Comm Games AUS (@CommGamesAUS) March 7, 2018

Fellow Novocastrian Suzy Batkovic wasn’t listed at the midweek announcement.

The 37-year-old isplaying professionally with French outfit Lattes Montpellier fresh from claiming an unprecedented sixth MVP award in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) and a third national title in four seasons with Townsville.

Batkovic was set to comeback for the Opals after missing the 2016 Rio Olympics, but opted to take up the European contract.

Opals –Stephanie Blicavs, Elizabeth Cambage, Katie Ebzery, Cayla George, Kelsey Griffin, Alice Kunek, Tessa Lavey, Eziyoda Magbegor, Jenna O’Hea, Nicole Seekamp, Belinda Snell, Stephanie Talbot.

Boomers –Angus Brandt, Jason Cadee, Mitchell Creek, Cameron Gliddon, Christopher Goulding, Matthew Hodgson, Nicholas Kay, Daniel Kickert, Damian Martin, Brad Newly, Nathan Sobey, Jesse Wagstaff.

ACCOLADE:Super Suzy rated WNBL’s best ever

FEATURE:Cassidy McLean takes on step at a time

Commercial Property: The Argenton Hotel closes for six months of major renovation works

NEW LOOK: The Argenton Hotel will be closed for six months as it undergoes major renovation works. It is set to be reopened in July or August.The Argenton Hotel on Lake Road, Argenton closed last month for a multi-million-dollar redevelopment including extensive building works, expansion and internal renovations.

The venue will be closed for up to six months with hopesto reopen in July or August.

Owners Campbell and Clare Rogers areno strangers to renovations. They purchased the Sydney Junction Hotel in 2014 and transformed it into one of the region’s premier hotels. They also bought the Gunyah Hotel last year.

“The hotel has undergone many smaller scale renovations in the past, but we have decided to close the doors and completely redevelop the hotel mainly due to the sheer scale of works we are about to undertake” Mr Rogers said.

“ … This renovation is aimed at providing a more modern casual venue that the local community can be proud of.”

SALE OR LEASEA spacious fully licenced restaurant in a prominent location in Charlestown is for lease at $50,000 or for $599,000 as a potential sale price. Itoffers “exceptional value for size andlocation”, according to Matt Nelson from Raine & Horne Commercial.

The property has a seating plan of 80 with 50 inside and30 in a private undercover courtyard.There is a commercial grade kitchen andlicenced bar and the property is in awell-exposed main road location.

GOOD POSITION: This property is for sale or lease and has a well-exposed main road location.

UNIQUE OFFERINGColliers International Byrne Tran and Adam Leacy describe a large site they have listed as “a unique opportunity to purchase a property located on one of the main roads servicing Warners Bay”.

The property at5-7 King Streetis 8081 square metres in size andis currently zonedB7 Business Park. It is for sale by Expressions of Interestclosing April 12.

OPTIONS OPEN: The 8081-square-metre site at 5-7 King Street, Warners Bay is located around 500m from Warners Bay’s The Esplanade cafe and retail strip.

Pushback on Trump tariffs gathers steam

Proposed tariffs on steel and aluminium imports proved to much for Donald Trump adviser Gary Cohn.Donald Trump’s top economic adviser Gary Cohn has resigned after the US president said he would push ahead with punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, which some critics have dubbed the first shot in a global trade war.

Cohn did not spell out the reasons for his resignation, although he was regarded as a bulwark of economic orthodoxy in an administration whose protectionist policies have sparked alarm among US legislators and in governments across the world.

Despite a rising tide of criticism from Republican lawmakers about the proposed 25 per cent tariffs on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium imports, Trump said he would stick to his guns, and again lashed out at what he described as a rigged trading system that has bled American companies and jobs.

Given the size of America’s trade deficit, Trump said the country would not be a loser in any fight.

“When we’re behind on every single country, trade wars aren’t so bad,” he told reporters at the White House on Tuesday.

Critics worry that the measures risk igniting a trade war and damaging the US economy.

A prominent Republican critic of the proposal, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, returned to the attack on Tuesday, saying the proposed duties were too broad.

Although the measure is designed to hit China, its main impact will be on US allies like Canada.

Ryan, whose home state of Wisconsin could be hit by proposed counter-tariffs from the European Union, has consistently opposed the tariffs and called for “more surgical and more targeted measures”.

The White House has said the measures will protect industries and jobs from unfair competition, and that across-the-board tariffs are needed because countries like China use third countries for shipping steel to the United States, disguising its origin.

Opponents charge that the tariffs could destroy more jobs than they create and risk alienating US allies, while American consumers will end up paying more for a range of products from cans of beer to cars.

Financial markets have rallied off their lows on expectations the measures may be watered down in the face of an intense lobbying effort from leading Republicans.

Trump had been presented with three options by the Commerce Department. The broad tariffs that he announced last week were one.

He also had the option of imposing a much higher duty of 53 per cent on steel imports from on a narrower group of 12 countries that did not include Canada, Mexico and the European Union, although all countries would be subject to quotas.

For aluminium, China, Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela and Vietnam would be subject to direct tariffs and others to quotas.

Growth slows but Morrison stays optimistic

Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe says he expects stronger growth in 2018 than in 2017. Scott Morrison remains optimistic about economic outlook despite growth slowing in the last quarter.

A marked rebound in household spending and a footy tournament have helped the n economy extend its record-breaking expansion.

However, weak exports during the final three months of 2017 proved a drag on economic growth, posting the worst quarterly outcome since September 2016.

The economy grew by just 0.4 per cent in the December quarter after an upwardly revised 0.7 per cent expansion in the previous quarter.

The annual growth rate eased to 2.4 per cent, from 2.7 per cent previously.

But Treasurer Scott Morrison remains optimistic about the outlook and the result was on track with what he expected when he released his mid-year budget review in December.

“ns (are) backing themselves, getting jobs, spending more and investing more, particularly where it matters in our economy,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen was not impressed with the result.

“At a time when the global economy is as strong as it’s been since the global financial crisis, it makes this result here in even more disappointing,” Mr Bowen told AAP.

“The government hasn’t had to deal with a global financial crisis, yet economic growth remains stuck below trend and low wages growth continues to be a concern.”

Household consumption increased by one per cent in the quarter, double the pace of the previous three months.

Mr Morrison noted this was led by an increase in spending in hotels, cafes and restaurants, thanks to the Rugby League World Cup tournament.

However, net exports fell 0.4 per cent, having previously been driven by a bumper crop, while also reflecting the final stages of motor vehicle industry close-down.

But Mr Morrison said a look at the overall indicators within the report showed a “soundness and a strength” in the economy.

The annual growth result was slower than the 2.5 per cent that had been forecast by the Reserve Bank.

Earlier, central bank governor Philip Lowe had warned the growth result might be easier than first thought because of exports, but it didn’t alter his expectation of a stronger economy in 2018 than in 2017.

“The underlying drivers leading to stronger growth are still in play,” he told the n Financial Review Business Summit in Sydney on Wednesday.

He said consumption and employment have picked up and investment is rising reasonably strongly.

“With the economy moving in the right direction, and interest rates still quite low, it is likely that the next move in interest rates in will be up, not down,” he said.

However, Dr Lowe does not expect a near-term adjustment with progress in reducing unemployment and having inflation return to target likely to be gradual.

Titans’ Brennan happy to chop and change

Gold Coast’s Garth Brennan says he’ll chop and change mid-game to get the most from his forwards.Gold Coast coach Garth Brennan won’t play it safe in his NRL head coaching debut, indicating his desire to chop and change what he views as a versatile forward pack.

A winner of titles in his time as Penrith’s NSW Cup and under-20s head coach, Brennan hasn’t felt out of his depth since accepting the promotion in October.

And while the former police officer admits he doesn’t enjoy the extra media commitments, he has been happy to spruik his message and give an insight into how his team will operate starting on Sunday against Canberra.

“I’ve been coaching a long time. Yeah it’s my first crack in an NRL position but I’ve been head coach most of my coaching career,” Brennan said.

“It’s about juggling players, moving positions and making calls on interchange … I’m not a rookie in that area.”

Central to that juggling will be Brennan’s forward pack, with Brisbane recruit Jai Arrow named in the front row to replace Jarrod Wallace (suspension).

The coach said Arrow would also spend time at lock, while starting lock Bryce Cartwright, who’s a former pupil of Brennan during his time at the Panthers, is likely to swing into the second row.

Captain Ryan James will start in the second row in a change from last season but is likely to relieve Arrow in the front row at some stage.

Former Roosters back Michael Gordon will make his Titans debut at fullback, while utility Mitch Rein will come off the bench in what will be a fresh start for the side that won just seven games to finish second-last in 2017.

“No doubt I’ll be nervous Sunday. I’m nervous no matter what grade I’m coaching,” Brennan said.

“I just want to see a really steely determination in defence because obviously attack will take time, the combinations will be better a the back end of the year.”

Common sense has left our opponents: PM

Malcolm Turnbull has used a business summit to slam political opponents over his planned tax cuts.Malcolm Turnbull says the laws of economic common sense appear to have been suspended among his political opponents when it comes to his government’s proposed tax cuts.

The prime minister used a business conference on Wednesday to reiterate the benefits of reducing the corporate tax rate to 25 per cent for all businesses, a cut that looks set to be blocked in the Senate.

“The laws of supply and demand have not been suspended … but the laws of economic common sense have been suspended among our political opponents,” Mr Turnbull told the n Financial Review Business Summit in Sydney.

He said reducing the tax rate from 30 per cent will return more investment, more employment, better-paid jobs and productivity.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said what is disappointing is Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and shadow treasurer Chris Bowen “know better”.

“Yet they are still going down this path of populist economics and it is going to cost ns if they get the opportunity to run this country,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

“If we think we can be complacent about our tax settings … then we are kidding ourselves.”

He pointed to new economic modelling by consultants KPMG which showed that not keeping up with the global trend of lower tax rates would come at a $5 billion cost to the economy and the loss of 25,000 jobs.

Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe told the AFR conference a form of international tax competition is going on.

“If we do respond, and I can understand why we would, it needs to be in the constraints of running a sustained period of fiscal discipline,” Dr Lowe said.

He found it “quite troubling” that with the US economy already at full employment, it is implementing a big fiscal stimulus and going to have budget deficits of five per cent of GDP for the indefinite future.

“I think it would be a problem if we were to go down that route,” he said.

Dr Lowe added investment is not just driven by tax.

“People invest in because of our fantastic natural resources, our workers and our ability to innovate and tap markets,” he said.

Aust, East Timor sign Greater Sunrise deal

and East Timor have signed a treaty to resolve the Greater Sunrise oil and gas dispute.After years of bitter wrangling, and East Timor have signed a “historic” treaty at the United Nations aimed at resolving a boundary dispute that also carves up $56 billion in potential revenue from oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea.

East Timor, one of the world’s most impoverished nations, will reap between 70 to 80 per cent of the revenue from the Greater Sunrise fields under the agreement.

The ceremony at the United Nations on Tuesday involved Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, East Timor deputy minister for the Delimitation of Borders Agio Pereira and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“This is an historic day for both our nations,” Ms Bishop told the ceremony.

“We recognise that it is a particularly important day for Timor-Leste and another step forward in Timor’s journey as a sovereign nation.”

Animosity again flared in the days leading up to the signing when East Timor’s chief negotiator Xanana Gusmao accused of colluding with oil companies to ensure Greater Sunrise oil and gas gets piped to Darwin instead of East Timor.

But the two nations were full of praise for each on Tuesday. The signing also marked the first time maritime differences were resolved under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

“The agreement divides the revenues from the development of that project either 80/20 or 70/30 in Timor’s favour depending upon circumstances surrounding the development,” Ms Bishop told reporters.

“So clearly, should the development of Greater Sunrise proceed through the work of joint venture partners, then substantial benefits will flow to Timor.”

The foreign minister said she looked forward to the release of the UN Conciliation Commission’s independent report and analysis of the options to develop Greater Sunrise.

Mr Pereira said the negotiations between the nations were “tough”.

“This treaty establishes a special regime for the Greater Sunrise gas field and a pathway to the development of the resource,” Mr Pereira told the ceremony.

“The conclusion of this treaty clarifies the rights and responsibilities of Timor Leste and with regard to the resources and activities that fall within our respective sovereign territories.”

Mr Guterres, a longtime supporter of East Timor and its independence, hailed the signing as an historic breakthrough for the UN.

“This ceremony demonstrates the strength of international law and the effectiveness of resolving disputes through peaceful means,” he said.

Ms Bishop said , which also has a treaty with Indonesia, had kept Indonesia up to date with the East Timor negotiations.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi had congratulated and East Timor on the deal, Ms Bishop said.

“The -Indonesia treaty will remain and it does open the way for Timor Leste and Indonesia to negotiate the changing boundaries,” Ms Bishop said.

“That will have an automatic flow on effect of adapting the eastern and western boundaries of the n-Timor Leste treaty we signed today.”

Meninga backs Munster to reclaim Test spot

coach Mal Meninga has backed Cameron Munster to return to the Kangaroos’ set-up this year.Months after sending Cameron Munster home from Kangaroos camp, Mal Meninga has backed the Melbourne playmaker to reclaim his Test jersey in a standout 2018 NRL season.

Munster was on thin ice with Meninga after it was claimed the Storm star was banished from ‘s 2017 World Cup campaign last November for coming to blows with teammate Ben Hunt.

Munster, 23, was eventually welcomed back to the Kangaroos camp a game later before ‘s semi-final clash.

The Storm were forced to deny pre-season reports that they had become frustrated with the young gun’s off-field behaviour and were considering releasing him.

All now seems to be forgiven for Munster with Meninga backing him to step up for Melbourne in the absence of Sydney Roosters recruit Cooper Cronk this year.

He has been named at fullback, replacing veteran Billy Slater (shoulder) for Saturday night’s NRL season-opener against Canterbury in Perth.

“I think he will go to another level after playing Origin last year and being picked in the Kangaroos,” Meninga told Fox League’s Queenslanders Only.

“A few things happened in the off-season for him but he’s at Melbourne … I think that is the best environment for him.

“With Cooper Cronk not being there I think he has to step up and I think that he can.

“I think he will have enormous impact on the Storm’s success.

“I think he will get back into Origin and maybe the Kangaroos at the back end of the year.”

Munster is about to begin his fifth NRL season after a 2017 campaign that featured a premiership plus State of Origin and Test debuts before losing his way at the World Cup.

Storm skipper Cameron Smith admitted before the 2018 kick-off that Munster must address his off-field behaviour if he wanted to become a “special player”.

Munster was also among eight players who were hit with a 12-month Origin ban by coach Kevin Walters for breaking curfew at the 2016 Emerging Maroons camp.